Merritt Island, Florida
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+6.4% since 2010
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Palm Bay, Melbourne, and Titusville anchor a large and complex area of barrier islands, beach and coastal communities comprising what is known as the “Space Coast.” Cape Canaveral and the John F. Kennedy Space Center are located on the northernmost large barrier islands, adding considerable interest and economic benefit to the area. There are fine beaches on these islands, while the coast cities tend to carry most of the commercial, residential, and agricultural activity. Driven in part by the NASA facilities, there are a number of high tech firms in the area. The more family-oriented Palm Bay is the most populous of the three.
Melbourne is home to the 3000-student Florida Institute of Technology. This city complex is only 30 miles due east of Orlando, giving access to bigger city amenities but also staying away from the bustle of that city. As a result, the area has grown rapidly. Some arts and culture amenities are absent, but the area ranks high because of climate, recreation, and overall quality of life.
The narrow barrier islands are mainly sand and palm trees, becoming wider towards Cape Canaveral. Inland is a mix of agriculture and marshland with a few inland lakes. Climate is typical for the Florida coast. Summer temperatures, while reaching 90 or above during the late morning or early afternoon, tend to diminish in the afternoon due to sea breezes and frequent afternoon thundershowers. Winters are relatively mild. Summer is the rainy season with thunderstorms, many quite heavy.
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